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    Written by Jamie Alter

    Akash Madhwal’s 5/5 bowls Mumbai Indians into Qualifier 2

    May 25, 2023

    There is a reason that five-time IPL winners Mumbai Indians are recognised as having the best scouting of all the ten franchises, and this was once again underlined during the team’s 81-run win over Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator in Chennai on Wednesday.

    After MI’s Impact Player Nehal Wadhera put the finishing touches on a total of 182/8, it was over to Uttarakhand pace bowler Akash Madhwal who claimed record playoff figures of 5/5 in 3.3 overs. If 2022 was about MI backing Tilak Varma throughout a rocky season, then 2023 has seen Wadhera and Madhwal grab their chances excellently.

    Madhwal had made heads turn when he took four wickets in Mumbai’s last league match, and in the Eliminator he soared ahead with a mesmeric five-wicket haul. This is what MI are about, and now they have a chance to join Chennai Super Kings in Sunday’s IPL final following their date with defending champions Gujarat Titans in Qualifier 2.

    Mumbai, who had Shubman Gill and Gujarat to thank for securing them the final playoff spot, struggled for fluency on this Chennai surface but still got to a very good total. This was the same pitch used for their previous trip to Chennai, when they were restricted to 139/8 and lost that match.

    Despite further disappointment from Rohit Sharma (11) and Ishan Kishan (15), hopes were floated of a total of 190 or more while Cameron Green (41 off 23 balls) and Suryakumar Yadav (33 from 20) were batting. But LSG chipped away with wickets and kept MI from getting too far ahead.

    Where it was expected that spin would have a big say, Naveen-ul-Haq proved a major thorn in MI’s side with four wickets and he was ably backed by Yash Thakur, who claimed the wickets of Kishan and Tim David. From the safety of 104/2 in the 11th over, MI were rocked in the 11th over by Naveen who took out Green and Suryakumar with two clever legcutters.

    Tilak Varma, playing his first game since May 3, hit two sixes but was far from his best on a surface where the pacer bowlers angled the ball across the left-handers repeatedly. Varma made 26 of 22 balls before he tried one shot too many off Naveen and became his fourth wicket. Thakur, who had bowled well in the match versus Kolkata Knight Riders when he had 21 to defend off the last over, put in another good day but not before Wadhera smacked 23 from 12 deliveries.

    Set a stiff target of 183, LSG went in with a new opening pair of Prerak Mankad and the returning Kyle Mayers – swapped for Quinton de Kock – but a scoreline of 23/2 inside four overs left the chasing team heaving. Marcus Stoinis started brazenly by muscling a few boundaries, and then used a drop in the deep by Wadhera to his advantage and got LSG to 54/2 at the end of the Powerplay.

    Piyush Chawla was bruised by Stoinis in his opening over, but persisted with his stock delivery to have Krunal Pandya caught at long-on. Then it was Madhwal’s show, starting with the wickets of Ayush Badoni and Nicholas Pooran in successive deliveries, before the 29-year-old from Roorkee put the final touches on a massive win. Adding to LSG’s abject performance were three run outs.

    About the Author

    Written by Jamie Alter

    Jamie Alter is a sports journalist, author, commentator, anchor, actor, and YouTuber who has covered multiple cricket World Cups and other major sporting events while working with ESPNcricinfo, Cricbuzz, Network 18, the Zee Group and as Digital Sports Editor of the Times of India. Follow Jamie on Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.

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